Peruvian gold, DANCE!, “cool”, Cherry Blossoms, rain, snow?, and Cool ideas…

What to do on a day that involved heavy rains but a chance to explore the D.C. area?   First in my mind was…

The National Geographic Museum with a fascination of photography and exploring other areas and then my thought was to check the Smithsonian American Museum since I had participed in a Clarice Smith Institute a few years ago.

After I updated several items on the internet and finished a great book titled Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby.  Setting out I donned the raincoat and headed to the Takoma station, for Farragut North stop.  I headed to the National Geographic Museum – the entryway was amazing with every single issue of National Geographic represented electronically, way cool!  Then I saw there was a Peruvian exhibit, which was very cool and provided info on the earliest stages of the Inca civilization, with the skills in metal, ceramics, and textile displays.  I was interested in seeing the various levels of civilization that was before the Incas and noticed the tagging on the exhibits indicated which civilization the materials were linked to.  As I walked through this exhibit, I was able to geographically orient myself with the locations of Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia in South America.

I loved seeing the info on IMG_3348Machu Picchu and I recognized this from several people in Mexico heading there!  The was the first grant ended excavation from National Geo which was great.  Then also the information on the Inca’s delved into the Mexican area and it was welcome to see this as part of the exhibit, it’s funny the way I see pieces of information on Mexico now as I reside there now, totally different.  I saw Mexican dominoes, dominoesand specifically looked into maps and detailed topography that dealt more in the Latin American areas as I have been more interested in what is around me from being in that location now!

The many hands-on activities made the museum intriguing without having to be very long.  As I made my way into the bookstore, I was intrigued with the reminder that is is Cherry Blossom season and then also stumbled across the book, true green @ work for Earth Day.  Also, a great book titled, Devoted, made me think of an idea to ask people to provide a story about their pets, that I could feature on this blog.  Stay tuned, I think that would be awesome to do!

Although it was pouring rain, I made my way to the metro and made it to the next stop, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which as like home from being a student in the Clarice Fellowship a few years back, but wow, some of the exhibits below were AMAZING!

– The whole exhibit on the word “Cool” with portraits that represent American Cool, and I was anxious to see who was represented.  I literally searched and found Paul Newman, to people I was unsure about like Lester Young who represented a high movement in Jazz.  The one person I did not see was James Dean, and I thought, how could that NOT be so and I redid my way through the exhibits, and did indeed see James DEAN – which validated my meaning of cool.  🙂  This reminded me of a course took in college that asked us to take word, and define that word according to several generations.  This was one of the best ways to learn some aspects of linguistics, as well as combining social media  – andI still remember this lesson.   I think a GREAT idea for the Harlem Renaissance unit would be to have students create a theme of “Cool” and have them represent various aspects of the Harlem based on the idea of American cool, it would be amazing and get students to delve into individuals that aren’t always necessary the same individuals that are the same individuals that are always focused on.

– Leading from the exhibit of “cool” titled “Dancing the Dream“,  there was an amazing exhibit on the history of dance, from well-known names like Paula Abdul as a choreographer to those from ballet and way before my time, that opened up the contributions of dance to a HUGE level in information.  ANYONE interested in dance needs to make this a priority to see until July 13, 2014.  I was excited to see a famous choreographer Susan Stroman from Wilmington, Delaware, who was part of this exhibit!

– the Photography exhibit was amazing that featured Morgan Freeman, Hank Aaron, and even famous writers like Hemmingway and Georgia O’Keefe, but whoa!  Cesar Chavez too – an amazing exhibit highlighting key characters through American history.

– Seeing the third floor where HallLincoln had his inaugural ball – amazing, beautiful and full of new and modern styles of art.

– A special exhibition of Martin Luther King, which was vivid, clear, and showed the impact of others around him as well!

It felt good to go through on my own and make decisions at a pace that was my own, and as a result, I saw connections that can be made to the world around us.  That is the exciting thing about education and being a librarian, being able to make connections and see how things synthesize and become more real, hence the shared info below  😉

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Stay tuned for a new part of the blog that looks at unique ideas that appear in various neighborhoods around the world!

About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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